DT 29805 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29805

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29805

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

As today’s Toughie is by Logman we think we can safely assume that Jay is not the setter of this one. So a good chance for us all to play the ‘Guess the Setter’ game. We won’t give our opinion, just wait and see.

It is that time of the year when the NZ Bird of the Year contest is held. The organisers have decided to ‘throw a bat among the pigeons’ this year by putting the Peka peka or long-tailed bat into the list of candidates. A separate contest just for bats would be very boring as there are only two, the long-tailed and the short-tailed. If the contest were enlarged to include all native land mammals then there would still just be these two candidates. So, in the spirit of being all-inclusive, we are quite happy for bats to be honorary birds for this. Voting opens on 18th Oct and we are already selecting our five to vote for. Bar-tailed Godwit of course, the NZ Dabchick that was our faithful companion during last year’s lockdown, the Peka peka (bat) and still two more to choose.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Lying down as quickly as possible (4,3)
FLAT OUT : A double definition.

5a     Empty beer containers for these traders? (7)
BREWERS : The first and last letters (empty) of beer and containers or jugs. There is an all-in-one quality to this clue.

9a     Wanting best from Handel? It is magical (7)
ELITISM : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

10a     Small country on radar in revolt (7)
ANDORRA : An anagram (in revolt) of ON RADAR.

11a     Vessel needing time on River Po (9)
FLOWERPOT : A ‘crossword’ use of river that describes how it moves. Then ‘Po’ from the clue, and finally T(ime).

12a     Item with Oedipal strings attached? (5)
APRON : A cryptic description of an item of protective clothing.

13a     Drain to make white, not black (5)
LEACH : Start with a verb meaning to make white and remove B(lack) from the start of it.

15a     ESP in later years keeping old in secret work (9)
ESPIONAGE : ESP from the clue, then ‘in’ from the clue contains O(ld), and finally a three letter word for later years.

17a     One can relate well to race run poorly (9)
RACONTEUR : An anagram (poorly) of TO RACE RUN.

19a     Traitors getting round Spain’s local taxes (5)
RATES : The rodents associated with traitors contain the IVR code for Spain.

22a     Skating facility shortly opening by sea (5)
BRINY : The place where one might skate, without its last letter, splits (opening) ‘by’ from the clue.

23a     Tight one is come to cut back (9)
ECONOMISE : An anagram (tight) of ONE IS COME.

25a     Conservative-Liberal relationship brings outcry (7)
CLAMOUR : The single letter abbreviations for Conservative and Liberal are followed by a romantic relationship.

26a     Impressive meow as Siamese at last moves (7)
AWESOME : An anagram (moves) of MEOW AS with the last letter of Siamese.

27a     Assistant wants line put into a flirtatious note (7)
ACOLYTE : ‘A’ from the clue, then flirtatious or coquettish contains L(ine) and lastly a note from the sol-fa scale.

28a     Row backed about Virginia’s prevarication (7)
EVASION : The two letter abbreviation for Virginia is inside the reversal of row or din.


1d     Anxious as guitar part not quite complete (7)
FRETFUL : A guitar part that is found on its neck and then a word meaning complete without its last letter.

2d     Song about Zulu on in state (7)
ARIZONA : An operatic song surrounds the letter represented phonetically by Zulu and ‘on’ from the clue.

3d     Suppose one will receive letter from Greeks (5)
OPINE : ‘One’ from the clue surrounds a familiar (from Mathematics) Greek letter.

4d     Watch perhaps seen in American magazine article (9)
TIMEPIECE : An American magazine founded in 1923 and then another word for an article found in a magazine.

5d     Be a really good person — or cruel and brutal one! (5)
BEAST : ‘Be’ and ‘A’ from the clue and then a good person who has been canonised.

6d     Morse’s first name and last always stated (9)
ENDEAVOUR : A homophone (stated) of words meaning last and always.

7d     Ruralite wrong to ditch large pot plant (7)
ETRURIA : An anagram (wrong) of RURA(l)ITE once the L has been removed. The definition is not something that grows, but rather a specific location of ceramicists. (This was quite a challenge for two Antipodeans.)

8d     Playwright born an Algonquian speaker (7)
SHAWNEE : A well-known playwright originally from Ireland and then a word borrowed from the French meaning born.

14d     Fine and well-built swimmer (5-4)
HUNKY-DORY : A slang word meaning well-built and then the swimmer we think of as being a friend of Nemo.

16d     Servant concealing crime in holy residence (9)
PARSONAGE : An incendiary crime is enclosed by a boy attendant.

17d     Novel about British deposing leader in holy city (7)
REBECCA : The two letters meaning ‘about’ and B(ritish) replace the first letter of an Islam holy city.

18d     Michigan port appealingly elegant in the past (7)
CHICAGO : A word meaning appealingly elegant and then a three letter word meaning ‘in the past’.

20d     Flow easily with crude oil making capital (7)
TRIPOLI : Flow easily as an accomplished dancer might, and an anagram (crude) of OIL.

21d     Second goddess with vacant expression still here? (7)
SHEBEEN : S(econd), then the Greek goddess who was the personification of youth, and the first and last letters (vacant) of ‘expression’.

23d     Beer without head: that is disturbing (5)
EERIE : The final three letters of ‘beer’ and then the two letters meaning ‘that is’.

24d     Character from Titanic holding up duck (5)
OMEGA : ‘Duck’ as a cricket score and then titanic or very large.

Quickie pun    incense    +    Sibyl    =      insensible

99 comments on “DT 29805

  1. A nice mid-week back pager – unlike the 2Ks, I didn’t have a problem with the ‘pot plant’ in 7d as I’ve been there!

    Thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks

  2. A puzzle of two halves, the top was first class, the bottom half would not have disgraced a Toughie which for me spoilt the crossword. Horribly religious, why are some setters obsessed with these references?
    Def not my favourite puzzle with weird tribes and obscure gods.
    Thx for the hints.

      1. Yes JB. But whereas you refer to the “Holy City” the clue says “holy city”. The absence of initial capital letters is surely significant.

    1. Your comments irritate me so much that I rarely use this site any more. It is an excellent site that does not need very opinionated comments.

      1. To be more precise, it is the comments that I very rarely look at, due to what I said. I do sometimes use the site in order to check an answer or to see the blog, as the bloggers are excellent, and often interesting and/or amusing. I would like to thank all of them. To make opinionated comments in the way that you do is out of sync with the rest of the page. It is completely unreasonable to expect all crosswords to fit in with your own narrow preferences and certainly most unfair to slag off the setter if they don’t. There should be no problem in discovering a new word; I find that one of the things I like about crosswords. I can never understand why the setter or the bloggers, or others, don’t reply as I am doing. Perhaps they are too polite, but it is a regular occurrence and though I have ignored it many times I am not doing so this time. Personally, I also strongly oppose your anti-religious stance.
        I expect my own comment will not now appear, for fear of upsetting you, a regular contributor, but that is up to the moderators. I am just saying what I think.

        1. Well said Nigel. I think we have been desensitised to Brian’s comments which have been appearing in this vein for far too many years. They are rude. They are nasty. I too dislike them.

  3. Are you sure it’s not Jay? The humour behind so many clues seems to have his mark on it. Loved this crossword. Lots of favourites, but the standout one for me is 21d. The use of the word “still” is real clever

    1. Today’s Toughie is by Jay using his Logman alias. It is highly unlikely that a setter would have two crosswords published on the same day

  4. See my earlier post. Really not real. I am not American. My name might give you an a hint

      1. Hadn’t realised that. Thanks for the information. I shall take more care in the future

  5. Well I’d have given this 2* if it were not for 14 and 21d. I’d worked out 7d ok but couldn’t understand the answer- thanks for the explanation.

  6. A wonderful puzzle, quite brilliant – finely crafted, witty, elegant, precise and concise. Red herrings aplenty, nothing unfair, nothing abstruse (other than the ‘pot plant’, maybe). Chapeau, Setter, chapeau.

    With 80% done the grid was heading for 1.5* time, but the final few clues in the SW and SE took it to 2.5*, and my legs are bruised from the kicks I gave myself on parsing those last ones. Ticks to fully half the clues and it would be invidious to select just one as a COTD, so for me the laurels are shared by 22a, 24a, 7d, 8d and 17d.

    2.5* / 5*

    Thank you to the Setter for such a tremendous Wednesday ‘back pager’, and to the 2Ks.

  7. 2.5*/3*. I was on course for 1* solving time but got held up considerably in the SW corner. I enjoyed it mostly but, in my opinion, this was not a Jay puzzle and parts of it seemed rather strange.

    Most of the surfaces were good but I can’t make any sense of 23a.

    I ticked 5a, 9a, 1d & 21d.

    Many thanks to the setter (NY Doorknob?) and to the 2Ks.

  8. I don’t know who set this but it was a real cracker. I thought the GK was fairly clued; 12a and 14d take the honours this morning. Overall a very rewarding solve.

    Thanks setter, whoever you are, and thanks too to the 2Ks.

  9. I really enjoyed this puzzle. All the way through. One good clue after another. I’d never heard of the pot making village in Stoke on Trent. It is a great name. Right up there with Huish Episcopi. My last two in were the linked 14 down and 27 across. Both excellent clues. Honey and handy got in the way of a quick solve for 14 down and 27 across was going nowhere without it. Thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks. The illustration for 17 across seems familiar but I cannot think where I might know it from. As mentioned by the 2Ks above today’s Toughie is by Logman aka Jay. It is also an enjoyable solve

    1. Oh yes you have! It was in DT 28149:

      June 25, 2016 at 10:57 am
      I did this Fri aft and though not particularly difficult, thoroughly enjoyed it. I managed to get 5d just using the checkers and a dictionary, but it was a new word for me. Etruria was an ancient region of Italy but it is also a suburb of present-day Stoke-on-Trent. 2*/3*

        1. I vaguely remembered I’d made a comment about that suburb sometime in the fairly distant past. So I guessed a sentence I might have said including the key words “E*****a”, “suburb” and “Stoke-on-Trent” and typed it into the Google “Search this site” facility at the top right on the Home Page of this blog. And it took me straight to DT 28149.

    2. Honey and handy bugged me for a long time, I eventually used e-help as I was getting nowhere.

  10. As a perpetual lurker and occasional commenter I must say I enjoyed this puzzle. After all the checkers there was only 1 answer to 7d, but I still don’t understand it.
    As a rhetorical question why is it the noble band of authors find some puzzles easy and worth 1* for difficultly and some more difficult and worthy of 3*, when I think the reverse? Just asking!
    Thanks to the 2Kiwis (and all the other authors)

    1. Welcome back

      I think it depends whether the blogger and/or solver gets on the setter’s wavelength or not

  11. Managed about half and a bit, but then found I was out of my depth. I agree, largely, with Brian.

    I’ve haven’t seen Daisy recently – does anyone know if she and George are OK?

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Walter Becker – Circus Money

    Thanks to the setter, and in particular today, the 2Ks.

  12. Unlike others, I found this puzzle somewhat underwhelming 2.5*/2.5**. 21a and 8d weren’t bad clues but I missed my usual Jay offering. Thanks to the Kiwis for the hints, which were needed, as one or two of my bung-ins were difficult to pass. Thanks to the compiler for his efforts

  13. Quite a bit of head scratching today, the ‘speaker’ in 8d was new to me but the cluing was spot on-so fine.
    Oedipal strings produced the D’oh moment once the checking letters were in place-my favourite clue.
    I thought thatTrip was a stretched pseudonym but I suppose that words trip/flow off the tongue.
    Ended up in the SW corner which was excellent as a whole liked 22a, honerable mention for 21a.
    Going for a ***/*** as per the 2k’s

  14. I really enjoyed this one. A good notch up on the difficulty level it took me into *** time to finish. 7d was new to me & needed confirmation but otherwise all ok. David Bowie just nicks it at 14d for COTD (anyone else daft enough to consider sole briefly?) though 21d pushed it close.
    Thanks to the setter &the 2Ks

  15. I absolutely loved everything about this although I had to look up the playwright to make sure he existed. He was my last in. SW held me up the longest but my COTD is 14d. I had all the checkers before the penny drop moment. Thanks to the setter and 2 Kiwis. Love the fact that the organisers are allowing a bat into the bird of the year competition – let us know the winner.

        1. Course I know Shaw, but if you google the whole word you get the Shawnee Playwrite Company and even video clips.

  16. Is Chicago not in Illinois? Or am I missing something?
    Not my cup of tea today.

    Thanks to the setter and the 2 Kiwis.

          1. I would like to defend, on behalf of the crossword compilers’ union (the CCU), the use of a definition such as ‘Michigan port’ to describe a city which is most certainly on the shores of Lake Michigan. I mean, if we can’t do little nuances like that, then what can we do? No strike action of course, but without some sort of licence crosswords would be dull indeed.

              1. Having taken a boat trip onto Lake Michigan via the Chicago River and the Harbour Lock, I have no problem with the clue whatsoever.

            1. Ora, Brian, and I will be protesting with much vigour. Our hands warmed by a huge brazier filled with maps of Illinois!

              1. It helps if your grasp of US geography is as unreliable as mine. I wouldn’t have bet my last buck on Illinois though that’s the state I’d have plumped for & simply knew the lake was thereabouts so bung it in & move on.
                Did you listen to the Curtis Harding album ? The better of the two for me.

  17. One of those puzzles that I enjoyed more in retrospect than at the time of solving – think I’ve said that about another puzzle in the past, maybe it was compiled by the same setter.
    Gap in my GK where the Algonquian was concerned so that needed checkers and a dose of inspiration to sort out and I was slow to get the ‘pot plant’ despite having been there many times – my Mum lived quite close to it.
    Despite the many clever clues the one that made me laugh was 1a so that gets my vote today.

    Thanks to our setter and to our 2Ks for the review – it will be interesting to see how your ‘bird +1’ contest resolves.

  18. Trouble in the NE, apart from 6d, it took I don’t know how long for the tea tray sized PDM for the 7d pot plant and a lesser one for the 12a Oedipal strings but neither detracted from the enjoyment – 3.5*/4.5*.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 3d and 14d – and the winner is 14d.

    Based on his commenting in the thread at 16, thanks to NY Doorknob, and I had no problems with Michigan, and thanks to the 2Kiwis.

      1. Thank you for being far cleverer than me NYD and sorry if my blog was slightly negative but that’s about me not you!

  19. A reasonable offering for a Wednesday but no stand out clues for me. I did not know the native American tribe and I cannot see what 21d has to do with an unlicensed drinking establishment. I also wonder how many knew the Wedgwood porcelain site named after an old Italian region.

    Doable but nothing spectacular is my opinion.

    Many thanks to the setter and to the 2K’s for making sense of some of it.

    1. An unlicensed drinking establishment might have a ‘still here’ for the production of illicit alcohol.

  20. Very pleased that I constructed a few words that were new to me eg 8d.
    Made heavy weather of this puzzle but got there unaided in the end.
    Some very clever constructions eg 27a.
    So, ***/****
    Many thanks to the setter and to the 2Kiwis.

  21. I thought this one **/* as too much GK for me to guess. Was able to parse 8d and it sounded familiar so not too bad. I am as previously blogged not a plant person so was pleased to guess 7d correctly but I hate guessing. 21d was a new one in me I’m afraid. Maybe it’s a common one but I haven’t seen it before. Not terribly enjoyable therefore. Nevertheless that is probably my inadequacy and the setter’s ingenuity should not be questioned. With thanks to our antipodean chums.

  22. The pot plant at 7d and the still at 21d were guesses with all the checkers in so just about doable. ***/*** Favourite 14d. Thanks to all.

  23. I absolutely loved this puzzle even though I didn’t know what 7d was (my bung-in was correct; Google then confirmed its location), and I thought that 14d was the Clue of the Week so far. As Mustafa earlier said, a gem of a puzzle, an embarrassment of riches, rivalling the high quality we’ve come to expect from the man who isn’t there today (but elsewhere, as Logman, better than ever). Runner-up awards to 21d (quite wonderful), 17d (Oh, Manderley!), and 22a. Thanks to the Kiwis and to NYDK. *** / *****

    More great baseball playoff news: the Atlanta Braves beat the Milwaukee 5a to advance to the Championship series.

  24. Tough but fair with the NE falling last and taking me well into *** time. Enjoyable and satisfying so ****! fun factor.
    12a my COTD, any excuse to be reminded of Tom Lehrer:

    Thank you NYDK and the 2Ks

  25. I had a strong hunch who the setter was whilst solving this so nice to see Donnybrook popping in and confirming it.
    On the whole very enjoyable, clever, cryptic and quirky, giving some great PDMs.
    I hadn’t heard of the location at 7d or the meaning of “Algonquian” at 8d, not my favourite two clues.
    Top spot for me goes to the outstanding 14d with special mentions to 11,13,17&22a.
    Many thanks to NYD and the 2Ks.

  26. Struggling with this after a swift two thirds of it. Will revisit after a trip to the gym which might hopefully fire up my brain a bit.

  27. A nice Wednesday puzzle! Very good clues (bar one), a decent challenge and an enjoyable solve. For me, only slightly let down by 6d – where after reading the definition at the start, the word-play (which was fine) wasn’t really required. I’ve ticked quite a few and will select 11a as my favourite. 3*, 4*.

  28. Enjoyable, apart from 21d, for which I had to do some digging – and was educated with two new words in the same clue! Fav was 19a; a wry smile for what I inferred to be political irony in the clue’s components.

  29. Really enjoyed this crossword, which was only marred for me by 7d and 21d. Otherwise it would have been all my own work. Even though 7d was an anagram I still couldn’t make sense of the letters. I do confess I got a lot of the answers from the checkers rather than the clues though. Thanks to the setter and to 2Kiwis. Off to do battle with the humidity and the weeds now…

  30. I am in the struggling camp today. Needed help for several with answers I would never have got in a month of Sundays. Seemed to need more GK than I could muster so I will put this one down to experience. Pleased we have 2Kiwis and others that are able to unravel.

  31. Got there unaided in the end. Certainly a step up from the norm, although I do always find Wednesdays to be the hardest. A very good puzzle for sure.

  32. Alas my good run of back-pagers comes to an end; this was too tricky and I needed help from 2Ks to finish off 4 clues. Thank you setter for the education with 27a 7d 8d and 21d

  33. I found this crossword difficult but very enjoyable ****/**** 😳 with lots of clever and amusing answers. I find if the puzzle is quirky, as this one surely was, then there are always plenty of differing comments which add to the enjoyment 😃 My favourites were 22a and 5 & 14d 🤗 (with a mention in dispatches for 8 & 24d) Thanks to the 2 x Ks and to Donnybrook 👍

  34. Would somebody mind spelling out 12a? What’s the proper noun got to do with anything? Thanks

    1. Welcome to the blog.
      Someone with an Oedipus complex has a mother fixation or is ‘Tied to their mother’s apron strings’.

  35. It felt right from the start this was not Jay puzzle, which I see it wasn’t. Still a fun puzzle with a few tricky parts. ***/****
    Clues to like 1a, 11a, 15a, 1d, 14d & 16d with winner 14d
    7d I still don’t understand or see the parsing.

    Thanks to NYD and 2Kiwi’s for the hints

  36. Phew, that was tough – generally enjoyable but marred (for me) by a couple of obscurities with which I needed help from google…

  37. Morning all.
    It is safe now to admit that our guess at who was the setter was correct. Thank you NY Doorknob for the puzzle.

    1. Try the lake and not the state. I’ve learnt through the years that questioning the setters integrity will not end well

    2. Very silly to assume that a setter would make such a mistake and that the editor would not notice.

  38. This was a most enjoyable puzzle, just loved it. Not easy, but the answers were superb. I had a bungin at 17d which was dead wrong, this meant I DNF with 27a. There’s so much to like, 21d featured on the Irish RM, so had no problem there. I knew the pot plant at 7d and the speaker at 8d, plus the Round Table, Dorothy Parker et al.
    No fave, the whole puzzle was a winner.
    Thank you NY Doorknob, such a treat, and much appreciated you helping me cross the finish line 2Kiwis. I look forward to the result of the “bird” poll.

  39. I must say I struggled a bit with this. No matter who the setters are, somehow the Wednesday Toughie is always easier than the back pager,
    As I commented to Brian, it comes to something when the Holy City is no longer Rome!

  40. Thanks to Donnybrook and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but there was so much I didn’t know. Needed the hints for 5,13,22a and 7,8,14,21a. Couldn’t parse 17d. I was completely thrown by 7d, was looking for an actual pot plant, had never heard of Josiah Wedgwood’s workplace. Favourite was 11a. Was 4* /3* for me.

  41. I’m afraid this is another straightforward until it wasn’t for me. I fairly raced through most of the top half and made inroads into the lower half. I managed to sort out most of those left with the exception of those which others struggled with. I got there in the end with a bit of electronic help. Hey ho! I’m still here to tell the tale. Favourite was probably 17d. Thanks to Donnybrook and 2K’s. My phone has ‘blinked’ again so a reboot required, how tiresome.

  42. Totally splendid. I’ve been out all day so this has been a post-prandial solve. Very clever and devious but eminently solvable without aids. Some just jumped out like 12a which I know is a wavelength thing. Yes, there is general knowledge in it but it can all be solved without having all of that knowledge in one’s head. Think 8d for example – born was easy to get so what playwright fits. When I saw the word I recognised it so googled to make sure. Favourites 17 and 28a and 14d. Thanks Donnybrook and 2Ks. I can see why one or two would be hard for an Antipodean.

  43. Too tricky for me for me this evening so I just gave up and read the hints and the answers. Some very unusual clues. Thanks to the 2Ks and the mystery setter.

  44. Like some other commenters I solved about half and then gave up – it was just way above my pay grade. It’s disappointing not to be able to carry on to the end. Thanks to setter and the 2 K’s.

  45. Like many, raced through many clues, and then ground to a halt. Defeated by 21d, Thanks to the Kiwis for that hint and insights on my bung-ins. ****/***

  46. That was a struggle for me. A little too clever for my meagre abilities although all fair clues with the benefit of hindsight. I had to throw in the towel today with six words missing. The puzzle has been in my pocket for 5 days, has travelled over 300 miles to upstate New York for Fall apple-picking duties with the kids, has crossed the Hudson twice and is looking very worse for wear. My CsOTD were 22a and 14d. Thanks to NY Doorknob and the 2Ks for the challenge and the hints. *****/***

    P.S. My dad used to say that “wood warms you twice” and I was reminded of this today. I get a lot of entertainment from the puzzle and then it entertains again when I come to see the chat with BD (often days later). So thanks to Robert Clark for making me smile and to Huntsman for turning me on to Curtis Harding.

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